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New UN-led Global Immunization Push Aims to save More Than 50 Million Lives

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A UN-led global immunization strategy was unveiled on Monday to reach more than 50 million children who have missed life-saving jabs against diseases such as measles, yellow fever and diphtheria, in large part because of COVID-19 disruption.

“Even before the pandemic, there were worrying signs that we were beginning to lose ground in the fight against preventable child illnesses, with 20 million children already missing out on critical vaccinations,” said Henrietta Fore, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director.

A UN statement quoted UNICEF as saying disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic at the beginning of 2020 meant that vaccine deliveries fell from 2.

29 billion in 2019, to just over two billion vaccine doses last year.

“The pandemic has made a bad situation worse, causing millions more children to go unimmunized,” Ms. Fore maintained. “Now that vaccines are at the forefront of everyone’s minds, we must sustain this energy to help every child catch up on their measles, polio and other vaccines. We have no time to waste. Lost ground means lost lives.”

Echoing that message, World Health Organization (WHO)  Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, along with partner GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, urged universal access to immunization and far greater investment in primary health care to support mass jab drives.

“Vaccines will help us end the COVID-19 pandemic but only if we ensure fair access for all countries, and build strong systems to deliver them,” he said.

According to the UN health agency, immunization services have started to recover from the disruption caused by COVID-19 restrictions in 2020.

But a WHO survey indicated that more than one-third of respondent countries still report problems delivering routine jabs.

The statement said today, 60 lifesaving mass vaccination campaigns have been postponed in 50 countries, putting around 228 million people – mostly children – at risk for diseases such as measles, yellow fever and polio, WHO warned.

More than half of the 50 affected countries are in Africa, while measles campaigns have seen most disruption, accounting for 23 postponed vaccination drives, affecting an estimated 140 million people.

“Many of these (measles) campaigns have been delayed for over a year,” WHO noted, warning that failure to protect against this highly contagious disease risks large outbreaks wherever people are unvaccinated.

Serious measles outbreaks have already been reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan and Yemen as a result of gaps in vaccination coverage, WHO said, at the start of World Immunization Week 2021.

These outbreaks are happening in places already grappling with conflict situations as well as service disruptions due to ongoing response measures to COVID-19, it added. (PANA/NAN)

Health

No pending Lassa Fever Cases in kaduna—–Official

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Kaduna State Primary Health Development Agency, (KPHDA) says there is no pending cases of Lassa fever in the state.

Director of public health, Ibrahim Hamza-Ikara, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Kaduna, that the state has not recorded any Lassa fever cases for the past few weeks.

He added that all suspected cases have been discharged from the hospitals.

“We have not recorded any Lassa fever cases for the past few weeks and all the remaining eight patients have been discharged.

He said the state would  continue it’s sensitisation programme on how best to improve hygiene practices to residents.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls  that on February 23, the state recorded four deaths of Lassa fever and three on admission from the 44  Nigerian Army Reference hospital in the state.

Others infected were identified and being closely monitored.

He urged residents to maintain proper food and environmental hygiene and immediately report any suspected cases of Lassa fever to the nearest health facility for prompt attention. (NAN)

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BNSG Signs MoU With Shanghai Haitian hospital, Sinoki System for Training Activities  

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From Attah Ede Makurdi 

The Benue State Government, on Monday , singed Memorandums of understandings (MOUs) with the Shanghai Haitian Hospital, to facilitate academic and clinical interchange between Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi.

The partnership  according to the MoU, is in the areas of joint studies, training activities, and other educational exchanges of mutual interest.

The government has also entered into partnership with Sinoki System Limited, for the establishment of a Hybrid Solar Panel Factory in Benue State.

Signing the two Memorandums of understandings (MOUs) at the Old Banquet Hall of the Benue State Government House, Makurdi on Monday, Governor Hyacinth Alia said he was excited and optimistic that the partnerships would open many more doors of investments in the State, adding that his administration is willing to welcome more investors into the state.

He described the partnership with the Shanghai Haitian Hospital as an exciting one, saying his administration is determined to improve the overall health sector in the state, thereby discouraging the trend of health tourism to other countries.

“I am quite excited because our administration’s focus is to improve the health sector in the state that will be capable of increasing the lifespan of our people. The Benue State University Teaching Hospital as a partner in this is going to benefit from this collaboration, and it is our hope to discourage our people going overseas on medical tourism. There is nothing wrong in translating the finances spent elsewhere into our system.

“The partnership with the Shanghai Haitian Hospital will open more doors, especially as we also have Tertiary healthcare systems here in the state. Where we inherited total collapse of the healthcare system, we need to put all machinery in place to ensure that beginning from the primary to our tertiary health institutions, there are improvements.”

On the partnership with Sinoki System Company for the establishment of a Hybrid Solar Panel Factory in Benue State, the governor described it as a quick fix to the epileptic power challenge faced in the state, explaining that for every business to thrive, there must be some stability in electricity and he is excited about the partnership.  

“The partnership is going to be a plus to the State. The business partnership will bring about the establishment of Hybrid Solar Panel Company in Benue State, through a Private Partnership agreement between the Benue State Government and Sinoki System Limited. We are excited about this because it will open more investment doors in the state.

“As I have mentioned at some other forums, we are a state that is open for business, and we are welcoming investors into our state to come and do business.

“The establishment of the Hybrid solar panel company in the state has come at a time when the electricity situation has been epileptic. But for business to thrive, we definitely need some stability of electricity. This is one quick fix to the anxiety and I am very excited about it,” the governor explained.

He called for more investors to take advantage of the many untapped investment opportunities in the state, promising that government on its part will continue to create the enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the state.

Earlier in his address, the Special Adviser to the Governor on International Investment, Hon. Alex Adingi, while introducing the investors, said the investors have expressed their desire to partner with the state government in the two areas of health and energy for the overall good of the state, been the reason they have come to sign the partnership agreement.

A statement by chief press secretary to Governor Alia, sir Tersoo Kula said William Wang, a Director with the Shanghai Haitian Hospital, represented the Hospital while Liu Hai Ding, represented Sinoki System Limited.

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Lassa Fever: NCDC Registers 1 Death, 15 New Cases in 1 Week

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has reported one death and confirmed 15 new cases of lassa fever within one week across the country.

The NCDC said this in a situation report for week 13 published on its website on Friday.

Reports says that lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated by infected rodents or contaminated persons.

Its symptoms include fever, headache, sore throat, general body weakness, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle pains, chest pain, and, in severe cases, unexplainable bleeding from ears, eyes, nose, mouth and other body openings.

The NCDC noted a decrease in the number of confirmed cases from 25 cases in week 12 to 15 cases in the reporting week, although the number of suspected cases increased compared to the same period in 2023.

Cumulatively, from week one to 13, the country recorded 806 confirmed cases and 150 deaths, with a case fatality rate (CFR) of 18.6 per cent, higher than the CFR for the same period in 2023 (17.5 per cent).

“Twenty-five states have recorded at least one confirmed case across 125 local government areas in 2024.

“Sixty-two per cent of all confirmed cases were recorded from Ondo, Edo, and Bauchi, with Ondo State accounting for 24 per cent, Edo 22 per cent, and Bauchi 16 per cent,” it said.

According to the report, no health worker was infected in the reporting week, and individuals between the ages of 31 and 40 were predominantly affected by the infection.

The NCDC said the National Lassa Fever Multi-partner, Multi-sectoral Incident Management System had been activated to coordinate response at all levels at the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC).

The NCDC highlighted some challenges in the fight against lassa fever, including the late presentation of cases leading to increased CFR and poor health-seeking behaviour.

It attributed the latter to the high cost of treatment and clinical management of lassa fever, as well as poor environmental sanitation and awareness in high-burden communities. (NAN)

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